A sailor’s return to health and hearth

Today is the day that my husband comes home. A week ago he went off sailing into the sunset with a bunch of other sailors. I am glad that he sailed away. Since we work together and are practically inseparable, it was good to appreciate him in his absence. With the stresses of running a business and raising teenagers, we both do our part in keeping the antacid pharmaceutical companies afloat. Some time putting stress on the back burner helps keep the burning acid fires at bay. 

I am sure that the men were happy to get away from their wives nagging them about how much they eat, drink, or smoke. I do my fair share of nagging, I know. Paul is 6 years older than me, women live longer than men, plus longevity is on my side not necessarily his. So I figure that statistically speaking I should outlive him by 13 to 20+ years. We have been together 20 years this month, almost half my life. And I almost lost him once about 10 years ago. 

Ten years ago… I was staying at home taking care of our 3 little kids while Paul was building his own business. It was a one man show back then. Paul started having a lot of back pain. Our dr gave him cortisone shots and muscle relaxers, but the pain didn’t go away. After further testing, a cyst was discovered in his kidney area. No problem the dr said and plans were made to have an ultrasound to aid in the removal of the cyst. When we got to the appointment something was wrong. The dr didn’t like what he saw. He feared that the cyst was cancerous and trying to remove it by a simple procedure would tear it open and spread the cancer all over his body. Special tools needed ordering and surgery would be required. 

This all happened right before thanksgiving. Life went on. We had the whole family over for thanksgiving as planned. Paul got up early and cooked the meal in a tremendous amount of pain. We prayed and we worried. Cancer, the thought of forever losing my husband. The procedure required a major surgery that involved removal of a couple ribs, a week in the hospital, and a long recooperation time. Plus it was going to be expensive. Like most small business owners, we had a very high deductible and only went to the dr for catastrophic events. 

I remember the day of surgery quite well. It happened in the afternoon. The pastor and another church member prayed for my husband. Then I was left sitting in the waiting area for hours alone. I brought a book with me that I must have read the same sentence over and over. I looked down at the lonely desolate streets and watched the street lamps come on. I thought of facing life alone as I watched the wind blow the remainders of the late fall leaves swirling away. The dr finally came out and said that everything was ok. Paul had a cyst the size of a football on his adrenal gland, but it was most likely not cancerous. After I saw that he was safe in his room, I headed home. The weather took a turn for the worst. There was black ice everywhere. A car slid off the overpass and lay overturned in the ditch. There were many accidents on the way home that night. But we lived through that day!

Paul lost a lot of weight. He was thin and sickly which says a lot since he was always a big man. He needed help. I had to take him to work. He needed help getting up and down the stairs to his office. One step at a time. This was before Internet allowed him to work remotely. So much for recovery time. It was before I knew how to do the work myself. But he dragged his sore, heavily medicated body in. It was painful to watch. At the time, he was also taking a 4 credit master’s degree accounting class. He spent the weekends, when he should have been resting, working on his accounting spreadsheets and then finals. This is why I love this man, he preserveres. I admire his strength. 

Go ahead, take a week off. 

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